US Land Records
April/May 2020

Confused by US land records?
Wondering how to best search and use them for your own research?

This class of 5 sessions will provide you with the tools and the skills to make better use of these records and search them more effectively. Michael has over thirty years of experience searching and using US land records in his research–both in federal and state land states.

Join us and learn how to better use and understand these records.

Attendees will download the actual lecture to view at their leisure several days before the discussion session to follow. This allows attendees to view the presentation without connectivity issues and they can stop and pause the presentation as they need to.

Attendees will have a Google group for class discussion outside of class online “meeting time.”

Discussion sessions will be the time to ask questions “live.” Lectures can be replayed a often as you want–even well after class is over.


  • Week 1–discussion of different types of deeds, terms and definitions, record keeping practices and procedures, types of land ownership, and women’s property ownership changes over time.
  • Week 2–discussion of metes and
  • bounds legal descriptions, property descriptions in metes and bounds states, pre-Federal land records, and general research strategies in those states.
  • Week 3–discussion of legal descriptions in federal land states, property descriptions in federal land states, and an overview of federal land records (bounty lands, cash land sales, homestead claims, etc.).
  • Week 4–online demonstration of actual land record searches using indexes and records selected from online materials at FamilySearch.
  • Week 5–online demonstration of search techniques and approaches to the federal land patents hosted at the Bureau of Land Management website.

Homework is optional–there’s no grade.

  • Week 1–two local land records
  • Week 2–two metes and bounds deeds
  • Week 3–research problem in a federal land state
  • Week 4–a “can you find” it problem where records needed are available free online at FamilySearch.
  • Week 5–no “homework,” but problems will be posted to our discussion forum a week before the lecture.

Schedule–discussions (attendance is not required as they will be recorded and available for download):

  • 5 April 2 pm. central time–discussion 1
  • 12 April —no class
  • 19 April 2 pm. central time–discussion 2
  • 26 April 2 pm. central time–discussion 3
  • 3 May 2 pm. central time–discussion 4
  • 10 May 2 pm central time–discussion 5

Registration is only $50. All handouts are included and there is one for each lecture. Students also get download copies of the lectures.
Registration is limited--join us now.